There comes a time in every celebrity’s wispy life when, gassed on their own glorious fumes and those of the sycophantic court and peasantry all around them, break free of their earthly moorings and float away … a tiny speck in the sky, they become unrecognizable. One thinks of Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Madonna, even Cher. They fancied themselves royalty — and then just became royal pains in the ass. But worse, after a while, they didn’t even seem real.
Sarah Palin talked quite a bit about “real America” in her 2008 campaign tour with John McCain. But the “real,” at least for Sarah, is wearing off. She is starting to float away. Soon, she’ll find company with pale white balloons like Newt Gingrich, whose self-serving B.S about “changing America” has long wore down even the heartiest of his conservative acolytes. His balloon drifted off somewhere in 2007 and is now … perhaps stuck in a tree.
Know how we can tell about Queen Sarah? Take a gander at her speaking contract (pdf) delivered March 16 to her patrons at the Stanislaus Foundation at California State University by her handlers at the Washington Speakers Bureau. Some intrepid students pulled it out of a trash can after they were told they couldn’t obtain it through a Freedom of Information Act request.
This may go well beyond Diva … and let’s face it, Madonna wasn’t very good at playing Eva Peron anyway.
The list of demands is a mile long, but let’s just say our girl is getting used to the tiara. Only first class plane tickets, deluxe hotel accommodations (one bedroom suite plus two singles), all expenses paid, only SUV (or black sedan) ground transportation, and bottled water (with “bendable straws”) — to be opened at the lectern for her by someone else, prior to her performance, er, speech.
She doesn’t suffer a lack of details either: she wants the Social Security Numbers and cell phone digits of her pilots 14 days in advance of any chartered or private plane that will take her to her speaking destination (plus all of the plane’s specifications. For example, it must be a Lear 60 or larger for West Coast events; Hawker 800 or larger for East Coast, and all of it is subject to the “speaker’s approval”).
All electronic devices must be turned off during her performance, er, speech, and not even autograph-seeking will be permitted (unless she agrees to it beforehand). All audience questions must be heavily pre-screened and asked only by the moderator (no town halls here!). All promotional materials, including advertisements and press releases for the event by the “customer” are subject to approval (and expect a five-day turn around on such approvals). Oh yeah, and any media coverage of the event is subject to Ms. Palin’s approval, on a case-by-case basis (expect some blackouts). She even provides helpful diagrams for how to manage the long queue of fans eager to snap a photo with her afterwards. As for receptions — if she agrees to attend one — she must pre-screen the list of attendees and if there are more than 100, the contract “highly recommends” rope and stanchions to assist with “attendee control” and to ensure that the attendees with be able to greet Speaker “during the allotted reception time.” Anyone hear a moo?
Oh yeah, and this contract is confidential, and any disclosure, “negligent or intentional” shall be “deemed a material breach” and the “breaching party may be held liable.” Because, you see, the disclosure of said demands would “cause irreparable harm to (Washington Speakers Bureau) and to the Speaker.”
Ya think? Perhaps the royal subjects, I mean, “real Americans” might find it difficult to sympathize with her gratuitous demands, particularly after finding out that while they are worrying about paying bills and getting through the next pay period, she pulled in a healthy $12 million since quitting her job in July as governor of Alaska. And if you figure she spends most of her time flying from one such engagement to another with this doozy of a contract tucked under her arm, she’s spending very little of her own money on overhead. What a life.
Here’s a suggestion: dial it back a bit, Queen Sarah, and maybe you won’t float right out of our patient, adoring embrace — just yet.